Archival FAQ

Do you have anything harmful in your collection?
The South Carolina Historical Society acknowledges that historical records within the SCHS collections may contain potentially harmful content and language that reveals past stereotypes and biases. As stewards of the documentary heritage of South Carolina, the SCHS is prevented from altering or changing original content in the historical record. We are working to update any outdated or potentially harmful language used to describe collections in our online catalog. We are dedicated to preserving and making available historic records because we believe they are crucial to education and research.
I need help preserving an historic building, locale, cemetery, etc.
The SCHS holds records that can be useful for property research, such as property files, maps, and plats. See our Research Guide on Property Research at the SCHS for more information. For programs and services related to historic preservation, such as the state historic marker program, tax incentives, or technical assistance, we recommend contacting the State Historic Preservation Office or other local preservation groups in your area.
Can I view materials online?
Select materials from the SCHS collections have been digitized and are available online through the Lowcountry Digital Library. The majority of SCHS collections are available for viewing in person at the SCHS Archives reading room, located on the 3rd floor of the Addlestone Library. You can search the online catalog ahead of your visit to see what may be helpful for your research. The online catalog searches descriptions of SCHS books, pamphlets, maps, plats, and manuscript collections.
Do you have early passenger lists of ships arriving in SC?
The SCHS does not hold original records of ships’ passenger lists. However, there are reference books available in the SCHS reading room which contain information on people arriving in South Carolina compiled from various original records. The SCHS does hold original records pertaining to shipping and commerce in South Carolina. They are found within the manuscript collections of individuals and families involved in shipping in the state.
Do you have vital records (birth, deaths, wills) or military service records?
The SCHS manuscript collections are primarily composed of personal records of families, individuals, businesses, and organizations from South Carolina. Within these collections, there are some personal copies of certain vital records. However, the SCHS is not the official state repository for these types of records. Please see our Genealogy research guide for more information.
Do you have information on my family?
The best way to see if we have information about your family is to search the online catalog. The SCHS has vertical files organized by surname, which contain miscellaneous genealogical research and biographical information on families in the state. You can search the online catalog to see if we have a vertical file or other collection item pertaining to your family. See our Genealogy research guide for more information.
Can you tell me how much this item is worth?
The SCHS does not provide appraisals, but we may be able to refer you to other sources or appraisers who can help you determine a value of your object.
Will you conduct research for me?
Yes! We offer Research Services for those unable to visit the SCHS Archives in person.
How do I get a copy or a scan?
If you’d like photocopies or scans of items for your research use, submit a Reproduction Request form. If you’d like a scan for use in a publication, please see our Visual Materials page.